According to recent data, alcohol misuse by South Australian teenagers is decreasing, yet the need for early intervention programs remains significant. In 2016-17, 15.7% of South Australians receiving treatment for alcohol and other drug (AOD) misuse were aged between 10-19 years old.
Last financial year 112 teenagers participated in our Tumbelin AOD program across the Eyre, Limestone Coast and Murray-Mallee Hills-Fleurieu regions, in an effort to make positive life changes.
Anna* was one of them. Her life had been violent and brutal. Her mother was a drug user who was often incarcerated. Anna was regularly assaulted. By the time she was 14, Anna smoked marijuana every day and drank alcohol most days. She’d stopped going to school. She had no friends and couldn’t identify one positive relationship in her life.
Anna initially struggled to come to sessions sober, but as she began to enjoy the outdoor component of the program, she quit drinking and drastically reduced her drug use. She returned to a healthier weight and re-enrolled in school.
When she relapsed, Anna tearfully confessed to staff, although she expected to be expelled from the program. She was not, and the conversations that followed helped her realise for the first time what it felt like to have a supportive relationship.
Anna realised she needed to move out. She now lives in supported accommodation, is finishing her SACE and exploring career paths into youth services!
If you would like more information about Tumbelin contact 8388 5234 (Murray-Mallee Hills-Fleurieu), 8723 1445 (Mount Gambier), 8683 4464 (Port Lincoln) or click here
*not her real name